MANILA Chooks TM is facing a tough group in the FIBA 3×3 Doha World Tour Masters which starts tomorrow at the Al Gharafa Sports Complex in Qatar.
The Joshua Munzon-led team has been bracketed with defending champion and world No. 1 Liman of Serbia, and home team Lusail in Pool A.
“It’s definitely going to be a test for us to square against those European teams but you know I think we’re ready mentally, physically,” said Munzon.
“I think we’re ready as we can be and we’ll see how things go. I am confident with my team. We’re ready to get after it,” he added.
Earlier, all the Manila Chooks TM players were tested negative from their RT-PCR swab tests in Doha, clearing their way for the participation in the two-day event.
The winner in the level 10 tournament, which Munzon and company is using as part of their preparations for next year’s Olympic qualifiers, will receive $40,000.
Munzon, together with Troy Rike, are ready for the rematch with Liman at 11:55 p.m. (Manila time).
Back in the last year’s edition, Munzon and Rike were with Pasig Chooks, one of the two squads that the country has fielded in the tournament, and pulled off a stunning 19-16 victory over Liman in the group stages.
“We have played more recently than probably most of the other teams here. We’re kinda still in game mode and team mode heading right into that,” said Rike, as his squad competed in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup just two weeks ago.
2017 FIBA 3X3 World Tour MVP Stefan Stojacic leads Liman, which also has top-rated players Stefan Kojic, Mihailo Vasic and Aleksandar Ratkov.
Alvin Pasaol and Santi Santillan, who were with Balanga Chooks in the same tournament last year, completes the Manila roster.
Pasig and Balanga finished in fifth and sixth place, respectively, last year.
On the other hand, Lusail, which Manila will face at 1:35 a.m. on Saturday, 36-year-old Greek Vasileiadis Kostantinos, 23-year-old Ousseynou Mbow of Senegal, and homegrown talents Mame Ndour and 18-year-old Hamza Radi.
The top two teams in Pool A will take on the top two of Pool C, which is composed of world No. 4 NY Harlem of the United States, No. 14 Lausanne of Switzerland, and Utena of Lithuania in this Saturday’s knockout quarterfinals.
Manila held its first on-court practice at the competition venue yesterday before heading back to the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel for a 30-minute weights training.